§ Mr. John Garrett
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what evidence he has of vessels discharging oil in the area in which the German ferry, "Ems", sank off the Norfolk coast a month ago; and if his Department has the area under surveillance;
(2) if his Department will take emergency action to deal with the increased damage to bird life caused by oil pollution on the Norfolk coast.
§ Mr. Eyre
[pursuant to his reply, 13 March 1981, c. 436.]: In addition to the aerial surveys which were undertaken following the sinking of the "Ems", there are standing arrangements whereby British ships and aircraft, both civil and military, are instructed to report to my Department all sightings of oil and ships discharging oil at sea. Under this procedure, my Department has received a number of reports, mainly from helicopter pilots, of sightings of oil in the general area of the wreck, some of which appeared to be of a type not carried by the "Ems". In addition, one tanker was reported as stationary and discharging oil near the wreck, but in bad visibility could not be identified. No sightings of ships discharging oil or oily mixtures were made during the Department's surveillance flights.
§ Mr. Ennals
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take further measures to reduce the threat to wildlife and coastal amenities on the Norfolk coast in view of continuing pollution from the wreck of the vessel "Ems".
§ Mr. Eyre
Such oil as has been escaping from the wreck of the "Ems" has been dispersing rapidly, and aerial surveys have found no oiled seabirds in that area. My Department has co-operated with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Norfolk county council to facilitate rapid analysis of oil samples taken from beaches and from oiled birds washed ashore. The results show that a variety of oils caused the damage, none of them of the types carried by the "Ems".